Technology is undoubtedly the most significant driving force of advancement behind most fields around the globe. It has revamped the entire landscape of several traditional processes and tasks. Hence, now there are endless possibilities in different domains with all credits to technology. The way we interact, order utilities, shop, and do business have all transformed because of technology. We cannot ignore technological disruptions in the environment around us.
Similarly, the healthcare industry has absorbed technology to a great extent. We cannot even imagine modern healthcare infrastructure without technological applications. According to Gartner, the healthcare industry spent about $136 billion only on information technology in 2020. Other biomedical technology expenditures also contribute to this amount. It shows the massive scale of technological involvement in the healthcare segment.
Healthcare is the most crucial socio-economic sector as it has to do with the quality of life. It is a sector that can tolerate minimum room for errors. Humans are susceptible to mistakes more than technological complements. Therefore, technological adoption becomes inevitable for this industry. It doesn’t only uplift the efficiency of this sector. But has a direct impact on the social fabric of a country.
There could be several benefits of utilizing technology in the healthcare sector. This article mentions four of those.
1. Data Handling and Analysis
Patients generate a vast amount of data through different steps of a typical medical interaction. It includes hefty paper files with essential medical details. In contemporary times, when virtual interactions are increasing, it also consists of large online data sets. Managing this data has always been a great challenge for healthcare institutions. However, technology has provided great help with this issue. Now, we have health informatics to manage and sort valuable data. It allows healthcare workers to retrieve, store, and utilize data efficiently for smooth collaboration. Therefore, healthcare organizations looking to keep pace with technology should urge their workers to opt for informatics for health professionals learning programs. It will allow them to utilize a forward-thinking strategy in their healthcare operations.
According to Health IT, 83% of healthcare institutions already have essential data handling software. The trend is taking the entire sector by storm. More and more healthcare providers are adopting these data management tools. It enhances data storage and maintenance. It also radically reduces the chances of substantial data losses. Moreover, it aids different sorts of data analyses. Healthcare providers can analyze patient touchpoints and enhance the patient experience – especially for virtual interactions.
2. Digitization of Healthcare
Digitization of more and more utilities has become inevitable to ensure accessibility across the entire contemporary global village. According to Statista, there are nearly 4.7 billion active internet users. Such sheer amount tells us how much people have conditioned to the use of online services. Therefore, there is a need to address healthcare on the digital platform as well. Only appropriate technological inclusion can enable the healthcare sector to incorporate necessary digitization in the service models.
The implementation of information technology in the healthcare sector has produced tech marvels like Health Information Technology (HIT), Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and Telehealth. All these technological inputs have made medical services more accessible to the masses. They have enabled healthcare providers to cater to a larger audience with minimal resource utilization. Through digitization, healthcare institutions can comprehend the market dynamics better and adapt to patients’ needs accordingly.
3. Improved Diagnosis
The involvement of technology has transformed the entire diagnostic area. Data collected from a patient’s smart devices can help track down the probable cause of disease. More tech companies are also taking an interest in the process and stepping forward to play their part. Companies like Apple, Google, and even Amazon have collaborated with healthcare institutions to uplift the diagnosis process. Technology is now assisting clinicians in shaping their diagnostic workflow, making decisions, and exchanging important information required for proper diagnosis.
According to Fiercehealthcare, 1 in 3 cases of misdiagnosis results either in a severe injury or death. So, the inclusion of technology in diagnostics reduces this window of error. The overall process becomes more accurate with minimum chances of the wrong diagnosis. Advanced technology has also sped up the pace of diagnostic procedures. Now patients receive diagnosis reports faster than before. Modern machinery performs tests with more efficiency and fewer errors. Therefore, patients do not suffer the atrocities of late diagnosis.
4. Cost Efficiency
The most significant benefit of technology is that it makes things more cost-effective. Where a healthcare institute would need 3-4 human resources to manage workflow, a single program can do that now. It saves overhead costs and reduces the price of healthcare services. That too with better performance and fewer errors. Initially, the effect might not be satisfactory because of the upfront cost required to set up these systems. But they are undoubtedly cost-effective in the long run.
According to Science Daily, Electronic Health Records (EHR) application reduces the cost of outpatient care by roughly 3%. It might not seem much. However, over time it can result in huge savings on the community level. Therefore, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) created a $27 billion incentive program for hospitals and doctors to adopt EHRs. It shows the potential IT implementation has in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare and technology both are trillion-dollar industries. No one can prevent them from intertwining at different levels. The smart way forward is also acknowledging the increasing role of technology in various fields of life. Incorporating it to the appropriate degree is the key to operational efficiency and procedural accuracy. The same goes for the healthcare sector as well. We already see what technology promises in the field of healthcare. We now need to accept it and let it flourish even further.